Chihuahuas 13, Round Rock Express 0

Key Statistics: RF Brandon Dixon 3-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB; DH Kyle Martin 2-4, 2 2B, BB, 2 RBI; LF-SS Jarryd Dale 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB; LHP Jay Groome (W 2-2) 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K; LHP Tom Cosgrove 1.0 H, BB, 2 K

Jay Groome had his best outing as a Chihuahua on Saturday. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas continued to make their strong push for the playoffs with their second biggest victory margin of the season. El Paso has won 13 of their last 16 games and remains a game ahead of the Oklahoma City Dodgers with 10 left to play. … Jay Groome had his best start since joining the Padres system, tossing six shutout innings. On the year, the former first-rounder sports a 3.56 ERA with 132 strikeouts against 64 walks in 134 innings at two levels. The big lefty out of New Jersey was considered one of the top pitching prospects in the 2016 draft before a series of injuries. After Tommy John surgery, his fastball never quite developed as some had projected, though he can still top out around 96 mph. He’s also replaced his curve with a slider that he can land in the zone or below for swinging strikes when he’s on. The 24-year-old will likely get a chance to compete for a spot at the back of the rotation next spring in what will be his third year on a 40-player roster. … We have been writing a lot about Brandon Dixon, 30, and he gave us more reasons to do so Saturday by reaching base five more times. In 19 games and 86 plate appearances, he is hitting .419/.500/.932 with 18 extra-base hits and 10 home runs. He is not currently on the 40-man roster, but it’s difficult for the big club not to notice this production. Last season, he bounced between the Japanese Pacific League (major) and Japanese Eastern League (minor), hitting .217/.326/.434. Defensively this year, he has played first and third base and both corner outfield positions, with most of his time spent on the infield. … Jarryd Dale, 22, got his first hit in Triple-A with two RBI double in the first inning. Dale, who spent most of the season in High-A Fort Wayne playing shortstop with a bit of second base, started the game in left field before moving to shortstop in the eighth inning.

Joshua Mears celebrating his grand slam on Saturday night. (Photo: David Michael)

Missions 6, Amarillo Sod Poodles 3

Key Statistics: CF Joshua Mears 1-4, HR (5), 4 RBI, 2 K; 2B Domingo Leyba 1-3, BB; C Tyler Malone 1-1, 3 BB SB (1); RHP Brandon Komar (W, 5-4) 6.) IP, 4 H, R BB 3 K; LHP Fred Schlichtholz 1.0 IP, BB 2 K

Brandon Komar has a 1.65 ERA in his last three starts. (Photo: David Michael)

Prospect Watch: Joshua Mears‘ fifth Double-A home run was a grand slam to put the Missions up 4-0 in the second inning, and they didn’t look back. The Washington state native remains one of the most interesting prospects in the Padres system with near 80 power on the scouting scale but questions about how consistently he will get to it. He’s only 21 and is three years younger than the average player in the Double-A Texas League, but striking out 42 times in 90 plate appearances is not sustainable. The Padres will send the big man out to the Arizona Fall League to continue to work against more advanced pitchers and it will be interesting to see what changes he can make going into 2023. Strikeouts aside, Joshua has a lot to like about his defense, as the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has played a solid center field. … After a bad start at home on August 30 against Corpus Christi, Brandon Komar, 23, has been outstanding in his last three starts in September, giving up only three runs in 16.1 innings while holding opponents to a .196 average. Komar was drafted in the 13th round from Madison College in Wisconsin in 2019, the first player ever drafted from the Wolfpack. This season between Fort Wayne and San Antonio, he has a 5-6 record with a 5.38 ERA in 112 innings.

Top prospect Jackson Merrill will lead the Storm in the Cal League Championship series starting Sunday. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

The Storm kicks off the California League championship series against the Fresno Grizzlies, the affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, at 1:15 PM Sunday. The first of the three-game series will be at the Diamond before the clubs head north. We will have on-site coverage of the Storm’s last home game for 2022.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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